The best vendors, services, and resources for your handmade skin care businesses.
Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. That means I earn money if you buy through my link. This in no way affects my suggestions. I only recommend products I know, love, and trust.
Recipes, Ingredients, and Supplies
This natural skin care recipe book includes 50 retail-ready product ideas that can be geared towards many audiences. Includes research on essential oils, shelf life information, and many other bonuses to accelerate your understanding of the natural skin care industry.
Successful recipes from my own shop, all individual PDFs so you can mix-and-match what you would like to use for your own line. Retail-ready, all-natural, preservative-free formulations.
An excellent overview in simple language for starting your journey of making products with essential oils. Recipes are more for personal use (not fit to sell), but good exercises to get you used to ingredients.
Another great book for getting used to working with natural ingredients (still not retail-ready). This book is a great generator for future product ideas at an easy price point. Basic overview of essential oils and industry-specific dictionary in the back to get you familiar with some of our lingo.
The quality of essential oils is everything to my product line, and Plant Therapy is my absolute go-to as a certified aromatherapist and essential oil specialist. They have great prices because they’re not an MLM, they have the research (GC/MS reports) on every single batch of oil they sell, free shipping, and offer bulk pricing. I use them for raw ingredients as well (such as carrier oils, beeswax, and butters).
Starwest Botanicals is where I purchase dry ingredients like clays, activated charcoal, menthol crystals, and dried herbs. They also carry some liquid items that Plant Therapy doesn’t, such as witch hazel, castile soap, and a different variety of hydrosols.
Coordinates with the Creating Natural Essentials Recipe Book, but a great resource even if you don’t have that. Contains basic ingredients and supplies that any all-natural maker will need on hand.
Reference this before purchasing ingredients, check your quantities based on demand.
Measuring ingredients by weight (oz, grams) is a much more precise practice than measuring by volume (Tbsp, cups, tsp). This small scale ranges from 0.05 g to 11 lbs. The tare feature is a must for any skin care maker and has an easy two-button operation.
Ramekins are great for measuring out ingredients on a scale, such as butters, carrier oils, and beeswax. This particular set includes lids for each ramekin, which means you can prep your ingredients in advance without leaving them open for contamination or oxidation. (Added bonus: Clear glass ramekins are also useful as props in product photography!)
This double boiler fits nearly any pot and the pour spouts on each side are incredibly helpful when transferring melted ingredients to wide-mouth tins and larger tubes. The inside is slick so it is a dream to clean, even when dealing with compounds that tend to stick around, like natural micas.
I use the above stainless steel double boiler whenever I can, as I like my ingredients to be as far from the heating element on my stove as possible. However, there are times when a larger container is necessary for formulating bulk batches. This set comes in three sizes, which is helpful for preparing a larger amount of ingredients than can fit in the ramekins or making multiple recipes at once.
Glass is the perfect material for mixing your formulas in a bowl or on a stovetop. Glass stir rods don’t absorb any of the ingredients, they’re easy to clean, and they last forever when handled and stored with care. Be sure to purchase the 12″ length so that they reach the bottom of your double boiler (the average glass stir rod length is 6″ and not long enough to sufficiently mix ingredients in a large, filled Pyrex).
These stainless steel funnels are the perfect size to sit on top of 10 mL roller bottles and 1 oz dropper bottles while adding your ingredients. In addition to making it faster to get oils and carriers into your bottle, it keeps the outside of your container clean so that your product labels stick much better. Using flask funnels like these (that have a short stem) rather than standard essential oil funnels (that have a longer stem) ensures you don’t waste or drip any product when removing it from the bottle opening.
In a different way than the small funnels above, pipettes help to transfer ingredients into containers with a small opening, such as a lip balm tube or glass dropper bottle. These disposable pipettes hold 3mL, a bit larger than most droppers – MUCH more efficient when creating large batches of product.
Most home-based skin care business owners store their ingredients and supplies in a workshop or office and have to carry items back and forth between there and the kitchen. Sheet pans make transferring multiple items much easier and efficient. They’re also handy for keeping large batches level and organized if refrigerator storage is needed.
Heat guns are used to level out the tops of balms and salves after hardening in their containers. When changing temperature, products that turn from melted liquid to solid form can develop cracks or sink holes. Quickly reheating the surface of the product with a heat gun will create a flat, aesthetically pleasing product for your customers. Additionally, if you use shrink wrap to seal your products, you will need to have a heat gun on hand (hair dryers don’t reach the temperature needed).
Check for trademarks before deciding on your business name (check your own Secretary of State website as well).
Check to see if your desired domain is available and claim/purchase your URL.
If you’ll be having a service form your LLC for you, this is the #1 online business formation site.
45-minute webinar by Janet LeBlanc giving you the background of all legal business details.
Free and easy one-page application, for both LLCs and Sole Proprietorships.
Google Workspace is the answer to getting that ‘professional’ email address that you’ve been wondering about. Instead of using ‘your personal email @ gmail.com’ (unprofessional), Google Workspace provides you with ‘you @ skincarebizname.com’. Even a decade into my business, I still only use the Business Starter plan. I love having my business files stored separately from my personal info, and the Google Slides, Calendar, Sheets, Forms, and Analytics are all part of my daily toolkit.
Recommended free business checking accounts (article by NerdWallet, udpated every month).
American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card (0% annual fees, earn points, relatively easy to get approved with minimal business credit history.
A great way to establish business credit history if you don’t have any.
As a skin care business, you will be writing website copy, product descriptions, customer correspondence, and more. Writing with correct punctuation and grammar is incredibly important to your professionalism, and Grammarly helps you to communicate effectively, for free.
The Etsy Seller Spreadsheet comes loaded with the tricks that accountants use so you don’t have to worry about crunching the numbers yourself or finding the right report here or there. All you need to do is copy & paste your Etsy info and follow the instructions. Janet from Paper+Spark show you how to do your books for the month and record all your transactions.
Are you a Shopify seller without a bookkeeping system to support you? Have you tried to set up a process for dealing with your business’ finances, but you quickly get overwhelmed or confused and give up? Get ready to win back more time to create products & make sales with this automated bookkeeping template from Paper + Spark. The spreadsheet tools give you everything you need to easily do your books, without monthly subscription costs.
The process of entering raw materials & supplies, figuring out the cost of your skin care products, and setting a profitable price point can be time-consuming and stressful. And don’t forget about doing that year-end inventory count for tax purposes. If you’re tired of wasting energy trying to figure out a way to track inventory or price your handmade goods on your own, a Paper + Spark inventory spreadsheet is for you.
Color palette generator for designers.
A seven question quiz to help you find the dominant color for your business based on color psychology.
Find your color palette and hex numbers with this reactive color wheel that provides multiple color scheme choices.
Google fonts help websites load the fastest, and they tend to be legible and already loaded on most graphic design programs.
A collection of unique fonts if you want to search outside of Google Fonts (keep licensing requirements in mind).
50 examples of mixed-and-matched Google Fonts for inspiration.
Font pairing generator to help you visualize how multiple fonts will look together.
Identify fonts that you like on other websites by capturing a screenshot and uploading it to this software.
Canva is where I create every product listing photo, every Instagram post, every Pinterest pin, every featured blog image, every banner for my various websites, every everything. Free version available.
Freelance business logos, graphic design elements.
A notable designer on Etsy that does custom work – logos, graphics, and branding (she has great reviews!)
Product Packaging and Shipping
I’ve been using Paper Mart for years (I love supporting family businesses!) to supply my ribbon, muslin bags, gift boxes, shipping supplies, and a few product containers. If you ever do in-person events such as Farmer’s Markets or fairs, Paper Mart also has a large variety of table display accessories and shopping bag options.
All of my glass bottles, jars, lip balm tubes, aromatherapy rollers, etc. come from SKS Bottle & Packaging. They do a great job on their website of having all the dimensions you need for making labels, choosing shrink wrap if you use it, and getting the correct add-ons (plus they provide unit cost in addition to the full case cost, a huge time-saver when comparison shopping).
Packaging guides from my blog, DIY Skin Care Business. Includes packaging guides for handmade soap, lotion bars, roller bottles, face serum, and a variety of lip products.
AI Text-Generator to help with product names for labels, and all other business copy.
Five different label designs in a bundle of 8 products, all made to correspond with the Natural Skin Care Recipe Book.
Individual label templates taken from the bundles above so you can start small.
The best shop on Etsy to get a branded logo stamp for branding your bags, boxes, and other promo materials.
I tried several different label companies, and I found Avery the easiest to use with the widest selection of ‘everything printed promo’ (labels, business cards, stickers, postcards, tags, etc). Avery has blank sheets and roll labels you can print at home or with professional printing to get a unique look that is difficult to achieve when printing on your own.
I recommend getting separate scales for measuring your ingredients and shipping your packages. The shipping scale holds awkward package sizes a bit better, and you don’t want to put super heavy things on your ingredient scale.
This is a SUPER easy-to-use shipping software program that compares USPS and UPS prices. Perk #1 (besides being 100% free to use) is that it offers discounted shipping labels. Perk #2 is that you can connect any and all of the platforms you sell on and it funnels all of your orders directly into it. For example, I sell on both Etsy and Shopify, and because I integrated both into my Pirate Ship account, all orders from both platforms show up automatically.
I’m sharing the tent and lighting setup I started with years ago – it worked incredibly well for the small living space I was in at the time. The photo tent lightbox is large enough to arrange skin care products with a few props, and it folds down into a flat square so you can easily store it.
I used these little tabletop lights on the right and left sides of the photo tent to create a high-contrast, well-lit product photo. A great set for beginners or for those living in a smaller space.
My current setup has a bit of a larger footprint, enabling me to use and store a pair of these softbox lights. This opens up the space I have to arrange and move around in my photoshoot area (I use my kitchen table and the duo boards mentioned next). My particular set of boards provides a modern look that works with my current branding, though there are tons of different styles you can choose from. I like that they’re sturdy and easy to clean with a quick wipe rather than having to wash and iron a fabric backdrop (or throw away a paper one).
My particular set of boards provides a modern look that works with my current branding, though there are tons of different styles you can choose from. I like that they’re sturdy and easy to clean with a quick wipe rather than having to wash and iron a fabric backdrop (or throw away a paper one).
I purchased a dried herb set like this in 2012 and still use it TO THIS DAY in every photo shoot. When stored well, these dried herbs and botanicals will last forever – perfect to use in the foreground or background of product photos to give visual interest and depth.
My daughter’s pack of silly putty came in as the big MVP a couple of photo shoots ago and I haven’t looked back since! Simply pinch off a small amount of silly putty and roll into a ball or pyramid to help angle products for the perfect shot, keep props in place, and temporarily hold items together.
E-Commerce Platforms and Resources
Etsy (a marketplace) is easy to set up (no choice about fonts or the formatting of your store) and a small financial risk (20 cents a listing with a *5% transaction fee), so a great place to get your feet wet if you haven’t sold online before. You can learn what products your target market likes and work on improving your sales copy and product photography without having to worry about website design at the same time. You can get your first 40 listings for free here if you’re ready to get started and have never opened an Etsy shop before.
Shopify (a stand-alone website builder) is more customizable and scalable for the individual that is prepared to do more in the design department. It’s still pretty darn easy (compared to building a website on your own) with the provided starter templates and tutorials. If you’re in it for the long haul, Shopify offers a gazillion extra things to get yourself actually discoverable in an online search (aka, SEO – Search Engine Optimization), including blog posts, additional website pages, and the ability to edit your page titles, category descriptions, meta descriptions, URLs, and all alt-text.
80 page guide to understanding and implementing SEO & SSO in your Etsy shop.
A breakeven point calculator by Janet LeBlanc (Paper+Spark) to figure out how to price your products.
A quick 20 page ebook to help you format your Home Page, About Page, Sales Pages, and FAQ Section.
Online Marketing Resources
If you are looking to schedule your social media posts ahead of time, I have used Later in the past with much success and recommend them. Later provides not just scheduling but analytics, hashtag performance, content planning, and reporting. Their free account includes 10 free posts a month (get ten extra with the button below) on one social handle.
MailerLite is my recommended email service provider to start you on the road of email marketing. They are free for up to 1,000 subscribers (with a 12,000 email cap), have great newsletter templates for e-commerce sellers, and earned ‘Best Email Deliverability’ in 2021. I’ll have more posts and resources on how to use MailerLite with Shopify and Etsy in the future; until then, they have free online courses available (click on ‘MailerLite Academy’ in the Resources section after signing up) that are crystal clear and walk you through everything.
After your business grows and if/when you have the need for automation, segmenting, and tagging your customers, I recommend moving over to Converkit for your email marketing. This is for the more advanced entrepreneur that is looking to deliver opt-ins and a personalized customer experience.
An undated social media calendar to give enough you content ideas for an entire year. This undated resource is able to be used again and again, comes with a PDF calendar and an editable Google Sheets version.
An annual planner, journal, and success tracker for creative entrepreneurs that focus on goal-setting, focusing on the journey, and a positive mindset. If you struggle with motivation or ‘imposter syndrome, this planner is for you.
Asana for Makers is a quick-win course that teaches you how to better manage your work time in your business – encouraging you to find the balance between working IN and working ON your shop. Janet (from Paper + Spark) guides you through using a totally free productivity tool called Asana, alongside a complete mindset shift in how you break down your BIG goals to daily to-do’s to help you become immeasurably more efficient in your business.
Resources for Growing Your Business
Eight editable products to elevate your customers’ wellness journey (and your business authority at the same time)!
The resources (whether you purchase individual templates or the bundle) will help you to deliver this life-changing information to your customers in a professional, branded, approachable way.
Use the templates to grow your business by selling your edited versions as PDFs on your website, use them as lead magnets for your newsletter signup campaign, or build your loyal customer base with printed pamphlets included in every purchase.
The sky is the limit!
A quick-win course by Janet from Paper + Spark that teaches you both traffic-building strategies AND how to accurately track your efforts so you aren’t wasting time and money. A comprehensive list of ideas for:
- How to get more eyeballs on your products (for any type of product business on any platform).
- FINALLY understand your marketing analytics & metrics (and know where to find them).
- How to know if your marketing efforts are working so you can double down where it makes sense and STOP wasting time where it doesn’t.
Do you have to have a certification in aromatherapy to build a successful skin care business? No.
Is it excellent information to have while also giving you credibility as a maker? Yes.
I’d love to share with you how Aromahead’s Certification Program provides a reliable education that is grounded in both science and experience. Register now for the free webinar “How to Become A Certified Aromatherapist!” to reserve your spot. Don’t miss out on learning how you can transform your relationship with Aromatherapy to build your skin care business!
Hope you found a gem here to help your business-building journey!
If there is a category that you’re looking for and didn’t find a suggestion above, please reach out to our DIY Skin Care Biz Facebook Community and we’ll research together!